Friday, February 26, 2010

The Friday Five.....

We're working feverishly today so that we can hopefully be done with anything productive & have our butt firmly planted on the sofa by the start of the U.S. vs. Finland hockey game. Finns are an ornery bunch, sort of the "mules of Scandinavia", and with a medal on the line we expect a hard fought battle. We feel it's nothing less than our patriotic duty to cheer on the boys in red, white, & blue this afternoon and before we do, here are a few links to get the day started:
  • A nice piece on the adversity BayBay had to overcome on his way to being drafted this year. Mother & grandmother incarcerated as a child? A tough road and one Thomas certainly navigated successfully to this point. Good on ya', BayBay, and we'll always be rooting for you.
  • We've been preaching the importance of the nose tackle in our transition to the 3-4 defense & the NFL agrees. Interesting to see Chan's take on the position. Finding someone to play the nose this spring will be paramount to next year's success. Hopefully between T.J. Barnes, J.C. Lanier, & Shawn Green we find our man.
  • ESPN's Heather Dinich takes a look at the ACC's non-conference opponents. They are actually pretty weak, in our opinion. There are some compelling individual match-ups: VPISU vs. Boise St., UNC vs. LSU, Clemson vs. Auburn to name a few, but as a whole the ACC's non-conference games really aren't all that interesting (Tech included). The blood bath when Alabama travels to Durham to play Duke should be interesting to watch. Would it help the ACC if the conference as a whole played a tougher non-conference schedule? How would that effect the perception of the ACC around the country?
  • The College Football Data Warehouse came up with an interesting system & ranked college football teams according to their performance over the last decade. Tech comes in at #18, not to bad, considering where our recruiting classes are consistently ranked (wink, nod, wink...). Three ACC schools rank ahead of us, Miami at #7, VPISU at #11, & FSU at #12. The FSU & Miami rankings illustrate how far they have fallen in recent years as both clearly did most of their heavy lifting early in the decade. Something leads me to believe we'll be ranked higher than #18 at the end of this decade....
  • Last & certainly not least, the fine folks in Knoxville are cracking down on the wacky weed. No more "fourth strike" for Volunteer athletes. It's three strikes & you're out. Way to get tough, Vols. Certain elements are vehemently opposed to the new policy (NSFW), while others simply want things kept in the proper rotation.
Enjoy your weekend & don't watch too much NFL combine.....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spring Practice Outlook: The B-Backs....


Yesterday's post about the quarterbacks & spring practice got us thinking it might be a good idea to take a look at every position on the team & where we stand heading into spring football. If nothing else, it will give us a point of reference after spring ball is over & we can see how things have changed. Today we'll take a look at the B-backs:

  • Anthony Allen (RS Senior/6'0", 225): the presumptive starter at B-back after Dwyer's departure. Led the nation in yards-per-carry last season from his A-back slot at 9.66. Has the natural size & disposition to play B-back. Bruising downhill runner who loves to initiate contact. Might not have the break-away speed of Dwyer but maybe a tougher inside runner. Very strong after contact. Knows the playbook & will simply have to work on the mesh. Not much if any drop-off from Dwyer.
  • Preston Lyons (Tr. Junior/ 6'0, 215): the transfer from Colgate performed admirably well after sitting out a season. A veteran of the offense having run it in high school, Lyons is a shifty runner in traffic who is tough to tackle & always seems to get yards. While he's not a dynamic, physical presence, Lyons is able to turn in the hole & generally gain chunks of positive yardage. It might not always look pretty, but he's effective & that's what counts. Too many people shrug off the value of a player like Lyons. Great teams have good depth & Lyons is a perfect example of that. He can come in for a play or two or even a series & keep the chains moving; an invaluable resource to a championship team. He's also a special teams contributor. Lyons recently has shoulder surgery & will miss spring practice as he rehabs.
  • Daniel Drummond (RS freshman/ 6'3", 255): certainly looks terrific getting off the bus & I'm not slamming him as a player. A huge, impressive physical specimen. Incredibly strong & powerful. Adequate speed but he's a bus; not really going to make anybody miss. Needs to work on footwork & agility. Certainly has the frame to take a pounding & punish defenses.
  • Richard Watson (RS sophomore/ 6'1", 225): very nice combination of size & speed. Powerful runner with some agility. Watson's biggest problem seems to be the injury bug; he's rarely been healthy since he's been at Tech. A healthy spring camp might propel him up the chart.
  • Charles Perkins (freshman/ 6'0", 210): Perkins is enrolled in school currently & will go through spring ball with what I believe is a chance to play as a true freshman. A decisive runner with a very good combination of size & speed, if Perkins proves he can learn the offense & take the punishment he'll have a chance to contribute this year. One thing to note: B-back is a much easier position to learn than A-back. A-backs must learn a variety of blocking schemes (arc, load) against a variety of different fronts (4-3, 3-4, 50, shade, etc...) and be able to read them at the line of scrimmage; no small feat for a true freshman. B-backs are much more limited it what they need to know & the most important skill, the QB mesh, is learned more through repetition than anything else. Perkins will have a chance to work on this during the fall.
So that's the scoop on the B-backs as I see it. Don't be surprised to see Perkins contribute this year; he's a baller. Losing Dwyer will hurt us but we have plenty of talent at B-back & I don't expect a major drop-off this season. We'll be sure & update the depth chart & give some more unwanted analysis after spring practice...

-Hash

Scouting Report.....


When people began wondering what juniors would forego their final year of eligibility & enter the NFL draft it seemed the consensus that safety Morgan Burnett would return to school after a perceived "subpar" season in which our defense struggled mightily. While 2009 was certainly not as productive as 2008 for "UNO", much of that can be attributed to the overall struggles faced by our defense last season. Morgan Burnett is ready for the NFL and here's why:
  • Frame: 6'1", 210
  • Speed: Burnett doesn't possess elite speed but plays fast & makes up for any deficiencies in this area with other strengths (instincts, agility). A good time in the 40 at the combine will really help Burnett's draft status.
  • Agility/Quickness: very smooth, fluid athlete. Great hips and is easily able to turn & run with receivers. Very good burst.
  • Size: perfect for the current mode of the NFL safety. Big enough to play the strong spot over the tight end & lean enough to excel in coverage. Strong enough to play the run.
  • Coverage: very good in coverage & even played some corner & nickel in college. Can "flip" his hips & change direction very fluidly. Big enough to play press & excels in zone with his great break on the ball. 14 interceptions in college. A strength.
  • Run Support: willing to come up to the line & play the run. Not a big hitter but a very sure tackler. Finds the ball quickly but sometimes takes poor angles. Can get caught in traffic.
  • Tackling: uses good form & is a very sure tackler which is good for a player that's always around the ball.
  • Instincts: superior. Always around the ball. Diagnosis run or pass very quickly & reacts in a flash. His great instincts translate into very good "play speed" i.e. he plays fast. Able to read a QB's eyes & gets great break on the ball.
We've seen a shift in the NFL over the past 20 years from big, run support safeties to more coverage oriented players as the league has gotten more pass happy. Roy Williams & Steve Atwater, while great against the run & fearsome hitters, are exposed by today's pass heavy offenses. Burnett provides supreme flexibility (can play either safety spot) while performing well against both run & pass. When UNO declared for the draft, many called him foolish & said he would never get drafted early enough to justify leaving school early. I even heard some people suggest he would be lucky to get drafted before the 4th round. Not gonna happen, folks. If you ever watched Burnett practice at Tech you realize what a special talent he is. Even on a very good team like our 2009 squad, Burnett was just a notch more fluid & smooth than all the athletes around him, including his fellow Juniors entering the draft. It just seems effortless for Burnett. So where's he get drafted? Best case scenario is Pittsburgh at #25. If not there, then sometime before the end of the second round. You heard it here first: no way he makes it out of the second round. Just too good an athlete. While Eric Berry of Tennessee gets the hype (deservedly so) Burnett will quickly rise up draft boards & be a very solid NFL player. Earl Thomas of Texas & Taylor Mays of USC might be drafted higher but Burnett will have a better career. In fact, if I had to pick which of our four juniors entering the draft has the longest & most successful NFL career, I'd choose #1. I hope they all succeed, mind you, but Burnett would be my choice. Strong predictions for a strong player.

-Hash

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stupid People....


We've never been accused of suffering the fool & don't plan on it anytime soon. Sometimes, you just gotta call folks out & help them realize their shortcomings. It's all in an effort to make the individual a better person & thus more tolerable to be around. Whomever wrote this gem is just such a person. From NFL.com's analysis of former Tech receiver Demaryius Thomas:

"Thomas runs sloppy routes and is raw with his route-running in general. Needs to be more consistent with his concentration on the ball. Blocking must improve at the next level, which is tough to swallow given his size. Can make strides in this area due to natural measurables."

Sloppy routes, okay, we'll give you that. Concentration, well you're beginning to stretch it a bit. Blocking must improve???? What the hell are you talking about???? Have you ever, ever, watched the man play? He's a fucking road grader masquerading as a wide receiver!!!! Pretty much the only thing BayBay lacks is a truck in front of him pouring asphalt for him to run over. You, sir, are an:


Wow, some keen analysis there, moron. Just a tip, before you go around offering "analysis" on players, you might want to actually watch them play. Here's a good example:

>

Yes, BayBay almost killed someone with that crackback block. There are numerous examples of this on Youtube and elsewhere on the internet. You're one step shy of Al Davis in the talent evaluation department, sir.

Adios, Jaybo.....



It seems the long whispered but never confirmed departure of back-up QB Jaybo Shaw has indeed taken place. According to Rival's Kelly Quinlan, Shaw has cleaned out his locker & told teammates goodbye and will head to Georgia Southern to be reunited with former Tech coach Jeff Monken. Oh, yeah, and if you believe the chatter, he'll also be reunited with a certain young lady he has a fondness for (ahem, girlfriend). First, we wish him well & thank him for his time at Tech. Second, we're not in the least bit surprised.
The writing was on the wall last season when, after breaking his clavicle, Shaw was not redshirted but returned after missing over half the season to serve as Nesbitt's back-up. If the staff had plans for Jaybo to be the successor to Nesbitt, they clearly would have redshirted him so as to give him two years of eligibility after Josh graduates. In not doing so, CPJ sent a subtle message to Jaybo that he was perceived as a #2 QB in our system who would eventually lose the battle to succeed Josh. Obviously, Jaybo got the message & decided to leave for GSU, where he will be able to play immediately & greatly help the transition to the spread option offense. Good for him & again, best of luck.
So how's this effect our depth chart? Well with Nesbitt out this spring there are three veteran QB's on the roster & one true freshman who may see reps at the position this spring. Let's look at each:

  • Tevin Washington (RS sophomore/6'1", 205): there were rumors that Washington was headed to A-back this spring but that will certainly be put on hold with our current situation. An elusive runner, Washington flashed some playmaking ability with his legs last year during the spring. Washington has had ball-security issues throughout his time at Tech (fumbles galore) and frankly doesn't have the arm to play QB at this level. He'll help with depth this spring but his future is really as an A-back.
  • David Sims (RS freshman/5'11", 220): a dynamic high school talent, Sims was recruited by most schools as a safety or running back but chose Tech for an opportunity to play QB. Showed up last year for fall camp overweight, immediately earning himself a spot in CPJ's doghouse. Sims faced a difficult transition last year as he had never taken a snap from under center let alone run an option offense in high school. This made for a steep learning curve & a year spent learning the basics of playing QB in our offense. Sims is a playmaker with his legs; he shows everything you want from an option QB in that area- toughness, elusiveness, strength. The coaching staff, especially coach Bohannon, spent a great deal of time over-hauling Sims throwing mechanics last year which should pay dividends this spring. Sim's arm is adequate for our needs & if he's corrected his slingshot, 3/4 throwing motion his throws should have enough zip to get the job done. In sum, Sims has all the physical tools to get the job done, it's learning the offense & decision-making he needs to work on. One thing to take note of is that if things don't work out at QB Sims could contribute immediately at either A or B-back.
  • Jordan Luallen (RS freshman/6'3", 210): Luallen came into last year a highly touted dual threat QB and lost most of fall camp to a sprained ankle. This didn't hold him down for long as once healthy he evidently did an excellent job running the scout team. Luallen's strengths are his knowledge of the offense (he ran a wing-T in high school, very similar to our spread option) and a strong throwing arm. An excellent decision maker, Luallen's arm really brings another dimension to our offense and he's clearly the best passer of the current QB's. Adequate running the ball, Luallen will have to lower his pad level or risk frequent injury.
  • B.J. Bostic (freshman/ 5'10", 165): we've maintained all along that Bostic plays offense & we're guessing Shaw's transfer cements this, albeit it not permanently. In high school, Bostic was simply electric with ball in his hands, making plays from all over the field. He'll obviously need to bulk up & learn the offense if he stays at QB. We haven't seen him throw enough to judge that part of his game.
So those are the four guys we expect to see taking snaps this Spring. The two with the most to gain from a good spring are Sims & Luallen as they appear the front-runners to succeed Josh after next season. We'll follow their progress closely this Spring and report back as often as possible. It's invaluable that these young players will get a significant amount of reps as any & all experience is extremely beneficial for them & thus the program. With this current QB situation & installing our new 3-4 defense, this spring will be filled with plenty of action on the Flats.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scouting Report.....


Perhaps no player will be missed more in 2010 than departing junior wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. A tremendous difference maker on the field as the ACC's leading receiver in 2009 (46 receptions, 1154 yds, 25 yds/catch, 8 TD's), we have a soft spot for BayBay as he stuck with Tech through the coaching change when many told him to abandon ship. We'll always be grateful he stuck it out. BaBay broke his foot last week training for the NFL Combine & will not take part in drills or physical activity after successful surgery yesterday. We wish him a speedy recovery. Here's our take on his NFL prospects. Once again, we'll use former Ravens & Browns scout Daniel Jeremiah's criteria in evaluating BayBay.

Frame: 6'3", 230 pounds
  • Release: gets off the line with relative ease due to his superior size & strength. Very difficult to jam. Long strides allow Thomas to get on the defensive back quickly.
  • Route Running: the biggest unknown for Thomas. Ran a very limited route tree at Tech which hurts him in the eyes of many scouts. Has very little experience reading defenses & adjusting to different coverages. Tends to "round-off" routes & isn't terribly precise. Shuffles feet on shorter routes & takes too many steps. Will need coaching & time to develop in this area.
  • Separation/Suddenness: long strider and thus faster than he appears. Reportedly ran a 4.38 forty in Combine prep. Easily gets on top of DB's & will be able to "stem" them once route running techniques are clarified. Not particularly quick in tight space. The longer the route, the more separation Thomas gets.
  • Hands: Extremely powerful, enormous hands. Never lets ball into his body & exhibits good form catching the football. Makes tough catches look easy although occasionally has concentration lapses which let easy balls get by.
  • Body Adjustment: terrific in the air. Very good timing & is able to adjust to the ball while in the air; rarely lost a "jump ball" in college. Good hips & can adjust laterally. Doesn't go down to the turf or shoe tops very well for the ball. Uses size to his advantage. Easily screens & shields defenders away from the ball. Will draw penalties as DB's have to go through him to get to the ball.
  • Playmaking ability: great in the air. Very tough to tackle; good stiff arm. Will be dynamic in the screen game due to his size. Not shifty or elusive. Will fight through traffic & catch the ball. Has the speed to threaten a defense deep.
  • Blocking: highly accomplished & devastating blocker. Enjoys this part of the game & excels at it. Punishing. Hines Ward is a good comparison
It's unfortunate that BayBay hurt himself last week because he really could have leapt up people's draft boards with a strong combine. In fact, his stock was rising as fast as anyone's before the injury. He's physically ready & brings that skill set to the NFL. The only question is his football savvy due to the offense he played in at Tech. With some patience some team will be greatly rewarded. Reminds us of Braylon Edwards with his size & ability to go get the ball in the air & Anquan Boldin with his toughness & aggressiveness. We see BayBay going anywhere from 21st (Bengals) to the mid-third round. Other likely top landing spots would be Ravens (25), Lions (34), or Browns (38). A team that's willing to be patient & let him develop will be rewarded handsomely down the line. One last side note: if BayBay is drafted highly this will greatly help us as it will further dispell the myth that wide receivers can't be successful in our offense. Take that....

Hit the Links....

It's late February & even we are surprised by how slow things are in the world of college football. Other than watching the Oregon football program implode from afar there's not too much going on out there. How the Ducks keep perhaps their best player eligible when he has been banned from campus by a judge will be an interesting trick worth watching. We have little doubt with Phil Knight's money they'll find a way to pull it off. Some things that have crossed our path recently:
  • Today is a big day at Ole Miss as students vote on a new mascot, the dastardly Colonel Reb having been retired do the fact that Colonel Saunders sells more chicken & is therefore inherently superior. For the record, while we do not engage in politics at the Barrel, we fully support the Ackbar campaign. In fact, there's even a Facebook page. A tip of the hat & a brown cocktail to the genius(es) behind these political machinations. If you could get Chewbacca to play linebacker we're positive he'd be a difference maker in the SEC. (For the record, the Millenium Falcon defines "SEC speed")
  • The AJC looked at college football attendance & found that "Georgia Tech ranked 40th with an average home attendance of 51,584. That was an average increase of 4,095 over the previous season - the 12th largest increase in Division I, according to the NCAA." It's great news we had more fans coming to Bobby Dodd than the previous year. Was it our on-field success or an excellent home schedule (Clemson, VPISU, U(sic)GA) that drove the increased attendance? It will be interesting to see how 2010 develops with only one marquee game on the home slate (Miami).
  • A really nice 2009 highlight video from GTCU17. Great work, particularly the audio cut-ins from the game announcers.
  • An interesting interview with defensive coordinator Al Groh from his old pals at the Cavalier Daily. It appears from his comments that Groh will have carte blanche with the defense, something we anticipated when he signed on board.
  • A very good read on defensive backs & coverage techniques over at Shakin' the Southland. These guys always have great football content.
  • Doug Roberson of the AJC sat down with CPJ for a brief chat. Nothing earth-shattering but some interesting nuggets. Any doubt who is in charge?
A scouting report on BayBay Thomas to follow......

Monday, February 22, 2010

Deon Hill....


Come on down! You're the next contestant on "Meet the 2010 Georgia Tech Football Signees". Deon hails from Central High in Phenix City, Alabama, the same school that sent us Cord Howard & sophomore A-back Orwin Smith. At 6'0" and 195 pounds, Smith will play A-back at Tech.



Hash's Take: good vision & excellent acceleration through the hole. Will break arm tackles. Represents the coaching staff's desire to get bigger at A-back as he'll probably play around 210-15 pounds. Excellent cut back ability. Not particularly shifty; would prefer to run through tacklers. Smart player who plays through the whistle.

Player he reminds us of: Miami's Javarris James in running style & stature.

Scouting Report....


With the NFL Combine beginning later this week we thought we'd break down the four Tech players invited & give our NFL friends a little head start with a scouting report on each player. We've come to like former Ravens & Browns scout Daniel Jeremiah's site Move the Sticks a great deal & we'll use a template that he used when scouting in the NFL. Our first victim:

Jonathan Dwyer
  • Frame: 6'0", 233 pounds
  • Vision/Instincts: this will be a question mark for NFL teams due to the spread option offense we employ. Can Dwyer start off seven yards deep in the backfield & run from the I-formation, exhibiting the vision to pick the proper hole? For us, we really don't have much concern about Dwyer's vision in a "conventional" offense. After all, he grew up & played at Tech as a freshman in a Pro-Style offense. Dwyer will find space & running room in any offense.
  • Inside Run/Power: a strong suit. Dwyer is not particularly huge up top but possesses a ideal lower body; thick through the hips & thighs. A punishing inside runner who's accustomed to contact on every play. Will run through arm tackles & punish defenders in the open field. Can move a pile & carry tacklers if they hit him high. A durable runner who initiates contact & isn't afraid to deliver a blow.
  • Homerun Ability/Acceleration/Speed: not shifty or elusive in the open field but rarely gets caught in space. Very good speed for someone his size & shows the ability to cut back & take good angles. One knock is it takes Dwyer several steps to get up to top speed. If he has that space, he's difficult to catch; however, he can be slow to accelerate which makes it easier for defenders to initiate contact.
  • Elusiveness: Dwyer is a straight ahead runner with some cut back ability but his elusiveness is limited. Doesn't dance or make a lot of moves. Doesn't make anyone miss. Is able to pick his way through traffic & congestion near the line of scrimmage.
  • Ball Security: exceptional. Very good technique; carries the ball with two hands in traffic & tight to the body in space. No concerns about fumbling.
  • Blocking/Blitz Pick-up: Dwyer has shown he is willing to block in the run game it's blitz pick-up & pass blocking that are the big question mark. This is often times what keeps rookie runners off the field; their inability to pass protect. Dwyer will have a steep learning curve but he is smart so we have no doubt this skill set will evolve.
  • Hands: rarely asked to catch the ball in college but when he was showed soft & strong hands. Catches the ball away from his body & shows good concentration. Will need to perform well in Combine workouts to allay scouts fears about this area of his game.
It's between Dwyer & Fresno State's Ryan Matthews as to who is the first "every down" back to come off the board so The Diesel's performance at the Combine will be important. Dwyer reminds us an awful lot of a running back here in town: Michael Turner. Stylistically they are clones & we see a career path along the same line as Turner's. It would certainly help Jon if he can go to a "Denver-Style" (under Shanahan/Alex Gibbs) running attack where he's asked to make one cut & hit the hole with authority. We see him excelling in this type of attack. On the down side, teams are trending toward taking running backs later in the draft & we could see Dwyer falling in to the early second round. Possible landing places for The Diesel: Houston (20), San Diego (28 & the most popular guess), Detroit (34), Cleveland (38), Seattle (40). It also wouldn't surprise us to see Belichek trade up higher into the second to get Dwyer. A great combine certainly will help the cause so here's hoping for success in Indy this week.....

Friday, February 19, 2010

Shawn Green....


Come on down! You're the next contestant on "Meet the 2010 Tech Signees". A stout 6'2" & 290 pounds, Green was a dominating defensive tackle for a highly regarded Grayson team that won a state championship in 2008 & advanced deep into the playoffs in 2009. Green will play nose tackle in our new 3-4 scheme. Tech's coaching staff thought Green to be the best defensive tackle in the state this past year & opposing coaches seemed to agree, consistently singling him out as the dominate force on a very good defense.

Highlights (check out #94 at the :37 mark & tell me he doesn't look college football ready! Also, watch him pancake the guard trying to block him at the 2:10 mark & he displays his quickness at 2:42. Mind you, this is a GAME highlight tape, not an individual one for Green)

Hash's Take: Dad always said he couldn't pick a favorite son & we know we shouldn't pick a favorite recruit, particularly as they have yet to play a down, but we just love Green. A prototype nose tackle for the 3-4 defense; low center of gravity, thick hips & big butt. Plays with great leverage. Cat-quick & very disruptive. Refuses to be moved off the point-of attack. Demands a double-team. Has the makings of an outstanding college player. Potentially the best player in this class for Tech.

Player he reminds us of: as soon as I saw him play I immediately thought of former Miami star & current Patriot Vince Wilfork.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Josh Nesbitt don't need....



no stinkin' spring practice. After all, how can one simulate 4th & 1 in overtime with the game on the line? Or ripping the ball from the clutches of poor, unsuspecting linebackers? We wouldn't want any of our linebackers getting hurt this spring, would we? Rumor has it that Nesbitt contemplated sawing the ankle off himself when it began bothering him but was persuaded by the coaching staff to simply have minor surgery to repair the joint. In fact, when told he would miss spring practice, Nesbitt seemed unfazed....

What you lookin' at, fool....?

Okay, so Josh is going to miss spring ball. This is actually not the worst thing that could happen to us. In fact it may prove to be beneficial. Sure we'd love to have him out there. But having him healthy in the Fall is the biggest priority. There's no quarterback controversy on this team. Nesbitt is the clear leader. But he will be a senior. One of our biggest questions is who will replace Josh in 2011? Well, we're going to find out who has the early advantage this spring. While it's great to have Jaybo Shaw as a very competent #2 QB, we don't see him as the answer in 2011. So this spring will be tremendously important for redshirt freshmen QB's Jordan Luallen & David Sims as far as development is concerned. Both will have a great opportunity to improve their game & gain a better grasp of the offense while getting lots of reps with Josh out. If anything, this makes spring practice even more compelling to us (as if installing a new defense didn't have our attention).
As far as Josh improving his game, we all know the passing element needs work; particularly progressions & reading defenses. Missing spring ball is not ideal. But it's not the end of the world. Fall camp is far more important. He'll not only have a chance to improve his reads but to also develop chemistry & timing with his receivers, something that likely would be lost between spring & fall practice. So we'll be keenly interested in watching our young QB's develop this spring......
According to the AJC's Doug Roberson, B-back Preston Lyons will miss spring ball also. Again, not ideal, but Lyons has been running this offense since like 7th grade at Marist. He'll be fine. On a positive note, big tackle Phil Smith is off crutches after breaking his ankle in the ACC championship game & appears ready for spring practice. Great news & we're glad to get big #61 back.....

Thurday's Links.....

Some things that crossed our radar that we found interesting:
  • The AJC's Mark Bradley had a nice piece on Tech's new defensive line coach & recruiting coordinator Andy McCollum the other day. McCollum's Georgia roots will doubtless pay dividends in our state's very talented 2011 class.
  • UVA has lost it's starting center Jack Shields. A two year starter, Shields will now focus on fox hunting from horseback & racing "Sun-Ray" class sloops. It's not like there was anything behind him to protect....
  • Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples, whom we like a lot, jumped the gun and went ahead & ranked the recruiting classes from 2007. Tech's great class from that year finished 3rd behind Florida & Boise State. While we appreciate the love, it's a little soon. A player who signed in 2007 & took a redshirt year just completed his sophomore season of eligibility. With two years left to play for many members of this class, it's a bit premature to rank them right now. We'll stick with our rankings for the class of 2005 at Tech & applaud Staples that he didn't try & rate the classes before they've ever played a down.
  • Roddy Jones & Logan Walls were named to the 2009 All-ACC Academic Football team. This is Roddy's second time for the honor & Wall's first. Gentlemen, you do us proud.
  • Of the 120 schools that play Division I football, 27 of them return their coaching staffs unchanged from last season (that's 22% for those who don't want to do the math). It is interesting to note that five ACC teams return their entire coaching staffs from last season: Boston College, Clemson, UNC, VPISU, & Wake Forest. We haven't really drawn many conclusions from this so if you've got some thoughts, share them.
  • James Coley is the offensive coordinator at Florida State & a recruiting stud, according to most people around Tallahassee. He also takes cheesy, cliche-ridden coach speak to another level. What is this mindless drivel? Are you gunning for Dr. Phil's job? The football version of Tony Robbins? Ummmmm, Mr. Coley, your Twitter account seems to indicate you are an epic douche-bag. Might we suggest not broadcasting this to the world? "Seminoles, pick this TURD up & claim it!!!" We're actually going to follow him on Twitter simply for the entertainment value. We'll keep you updated.
  • Finally, where was this at our tailgate before the ACC Championship game in Tampa????? Damnit, we always miss the good stuff. Mobile strippers? Outstanding & innovative thinking by a small business owner. Wonder if they'll take a road trip to Charlotte next year?

Tough Break....


Sports Illustrated broke the story & now multiple media outlets are reporting that BayBay Thomas broke his foot on Wednesday while training for next week's NFL Combine. That SUCKS. BayBay was rapidly rising up draft boards & just today Mel Kiper had him going to the Bengals with pick #21. BayBay's agent reported he had run as fast as 4.38 in the 40 during pre-draft preparations & we know of someone who timed him at 4.42 within the last month. While we're hoping this doesn't cost him wheelbarrows of cash, we're afraid it will. Questions will remain about Thomas' ability to run routes, something the combine might have helped diffuse. The opportunity to dispell those fears plus the spectacular numbers we're sure BayBay would have posted certainly would have increased his draft stock. We still don't think he makes it out of the second round. Hang in there, #8, plenty of chedda' coming your way....

Stay tuned next week as we'll breakdowns on all five of our guys who could potentially be taken in the upcoming NFL draft.....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ranking the ACC's Coaches.....


We engaged in a gentle discussion with a friend the other day over the superiority of the SEC over the rest of college football. First, before you get your undergarments all knotted up, this is not going to descend into a debate over SEC vs. ACC superiority. Frankly, been there, done that, got the scars to prove it. Let's move on from that debate (we can debate this later if anyone so chooses- just fire up a comment). For the record, the "discussion" of SEC greatness vs. our beloved ACC ended with him simply repeating"John Swofford, John Swofford, John Swofford" like some deranged Louisiana voodoo priest until I cowered whimpering in a corner. That guy is a pox upon ACC fans like none other, insidious bastard.
I digress. In our discussion of ACC vs. SEC the topic of coaching came up. Of course he trotted out the names Meyer & Saban as examples of SEC greatness. I countered with CPJ & Beamer, so on & so forth. Perhaps the only usable information that came from the discussion was a realization that Houston Nutt & Dabo Swinney are actually the SAME PERSON! Giggity, giggity....But the debate did get us thinking about ACC coaching in general. How do the head coaches in our conference stack up? Is there a level playing field or are things stratified? So we decided to rank the ACC's head coaches, from top to bottom, & see what we actually thought of the headmen in the ACC. This is not a ranking of the programs as a whole but a ranking of the coaches. Who would you want coaching Tech if CPJ wasn't here & we had to hire a coach from within the ACC? That's essentially the standard. The number after their name in parenthesis is their salary, in millions, per year, just in case you wanted to make that correlation. Here goes:

  • 1) Frank Beamer, Virginia Polly (2.1): oh, the gnashing of teeth. Why didn't you put CPJ first, you traitorous bastard? Well, frankly because we think CPJ will overtake Beamer in a couple years but right now Beamer is the gold standard in the ACC. The dean of ACC coaches with 23 years at VPISU, Beamer has built a consistently excellent program. In six years in the conference, Beamer has won the ACC Championship three times, the Coastal division four times & finished second twice. His teams are consistently ranked in the top 25, he's won an Orange Bowl, something no other ACC team has managed, & played for a national championship in 1999. Other than the brothers Vick, the program is perceived as relatively law abiding. So for now we'll put Beamer on top of the ACC mountain but that perch is tenuous, particularly with defensive coordinator Bud Foster looking for a head coaching job, offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring a dubious character, & a gentleman in Atlanta building a juggernaut....
  • 2) Paul Johnson, MA TECH (2.3): with the retirement of Bobby Bowden, Johnson becomes the conference's highest paid coach & deservedly so, having turned our fortunes around in just two years on the Flats. While many nay-sayers doubted the effectiveness of his spread option offense, Johnson has silenced the critics with a 20-7 record during his first two years in Atlanta. The two bowl losses are the only unexpected blemish on his record so far. We love him at Tech & rightly so. As I said earlier, we have every expectation he'll over take Beamer on this list with in two years, particularly with Al Groh running the defense on the Flats.
  • 3) Jim Grobe, Wake Forest (1.2): does anyone do more with less? Grobe has built a consistent winner at a school with a little more than 7,000 students. Grobe's Wake teams are always smart, disciplined & they play hard. His policy of redshirting every player has certainly paid dividends at school handicapped by their size. There are never off-field issues at Wake & Grobe always seems to find talent that flies under the radar (Aaron Crry, Riley Skinner). We're pleasantly surprised he's stuck around in Winston-Salem as long as he has.
  • 4) David Cutcliffe, Ole Miss (1.5): do you think Ole Miss fans punch themselves in the groin when they remember they fired Cutcliffe only to end up with Houston Nutt? It's tough to win in football at Duke. There are high school games in metro Atlanta that draw bigger crowds than a home game at Wallace Wade Stadium. There's no football tradition & frankly most Dukies could care less about football, it's simply a prelude to hoops. But Cutcliffe is building a solid program in Durham. They will no longer be the doormat of the ACC. Will they ever be a juggernaut? Doubtful. But Cutcliffe isn't making excuses, he's just steadily changing the culture in Durham. He & Grobe certainly make the most of the limited resources they have.
  • 5) Butch Davis, UNC (2.1): the hiring of Davis at UNC was seen around the conference as a huge deal; a powerful school goes out & gets a big name coach who's both won a national championship (Miami) & coached in the NFL (Cleveland). So far, the results have been decent but frankly I think everyone expected more. It's still early, as 2009 was only Davis' third year in Chapel Hill, so there's a chance we're ranking him a bit low. There's little question that Davis can recruit as he's stockpiled a vast array of talent at UNC. The question remains as to how that talent is put to use, particularly on the offensive side of the ball? 2010 will be a key year for Davis as the Heel's defense is loaded & they looked primed to contend for an ACC title.
Please note: we are now entering the OH SHIT zone. The waters in which these coaches swim are murky & filled with oft angry fans, boosters, & alumni. Tread at your own risk....

  • 6) Tom O'Brien, NCSU (1.1): hired away from Boston College three seasons ago, O'Brien's tenure in Raleigh has been underwhelming so far. Thought of as a solid coach & disciplinarian, O'Brien has yet to make his mark on the Wolfpack program & better start soon or his time will be up. The natives, as we say, are restless. One side note is that the reason many N.C. State fans are upset is that it was rumored that the Pack chose O'Brien over Paul Johnson. A giant thank you from Tech fans everywhere....
  • 7) Randy Shannon, ThugU (1.5): from former Miami player to graduate assistant/bagman for Dennis Erickson to head coach. A tidy little circle. Only one other ACC school (FSU) has the national cache that Miami has & yet Shannon has been able to do little to reinvigorate the once swagger-filled program. Sure they have talent but not nearly as much as in year's past. And their performance on the field lacks not only swagger but discipline & execution as well. Shannon & Miami have slowly improved as his assistants have gotten better but frankly he's in over his head. He did, after all, VOLUNTARILY hire Patrick Nix.
  • 8) Ralph Friedgen, Maryland (1.75): Simply a beautiful man. Look at the cut of his jib. It pains us to put The Fridge here but after last season's 2-10 debacle we fear his ample seat is quite hot. Friedgen has never managed any consistency in College Park, yoyo-ing from 9-4 to 5-7 on a regular basis. That plus the high expectations of the Maryland fanbase and a coach-in-waiting (James Franklin) have the Fridge in a tenuous position. He's recruited well enough at Maryland but losses to teams they should easily beat have been a hallmark of his tenure. Fridge may be that classic case of someone who's better as a coordinator than head coach.
That leaves us with four coaches left who, due to their lack of time in their current job, we really can't rank. It's incredibly premature & just guesswork to try & figure out how Jimbo Fisher at FSU & Mike London at Virginia will fare. Same can be said for second-year coaches Dabo Swinney at Climpsum & Frank Spaziani at Boston College. It's just far too early to tell how they will turn out as coaches. If we had to guess, Fisher will do an okay job at FSU & based on the historical strength of the program will have above-average success. London has done it at the FCS level so we'll see how it translates. Spaziani will at best keep BC where they are now; an above average ACC program. That's the upside. And Dabo? Well, let's just say we're all for him continuing to coach right up the way at Clemson. Let us know your thoughts on the current ACC coaches...

-Hash

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anthony Williams.......


Come on down, you're the next recruit in Tech's signing class of 2010. Williams, a 6'4", 235 pound defensive end from Union Grove High School outside Atlanta, will play the "Jack" or "Spinner" position in our new 3-4 defense. One of Tech's more highly sought after prospects, Williams chose the Jackets over LSU, FSU, Auburn, & South Carolina.

Highlights: they are proprietary so we can't share them

Hash's take: relies on speed to pressure the quarterback. Very long arms which he uses effectively to shed blocks & keep offensive linemen away from his body. Very quick off the edge. Good natural strength. May have a chance to see the field as a true freshman, although adding 20-25 pounds during a redshirt year certainly wouldn't hurt. Extra bonus points for the sporty coiffure, sir. The Mr. T look suits you, we must say....

Player he reminds us of: One of coach Groh's old players, Virginia linebacker Chris Slade

Monday, February 15, 2010

Random Thoughts & Monday Musings...


Snow-mageddon has past & we hope you all survived. Some thoughts on the weekend & things that caught our interest. First, a tip of the hat to some folks on campus for this fine snow art....


On to the good stuff:
  • Where is Florida coach Urban Meyer on his leave of absence? Why Georgia Tech, of course! After receiving some coaching tips from CPJ, Hector Alejandro of the North Avenue Bulletin caught Meyer jogging in the CRC with his daughter Nikki, who plays on Tech's volleyball team. No charge for the advice, Urban, as long as you continue to wax U(sic)GA's ass on a regular basis. Just one other thing, Urban, while you were away there was a party.....
  • The second installment of Derrick Morgan's blog on preparing for the NFL draft can be found here. Rest assured, Derrick, that when the combine & all this over you will have plenty of cheese to take a nice vacation....
  • What's going on with Duke head coach David Cutcliffe? After signing day, he guaranteed Duke would win an ACC Championship within five to six years. Now he's started spring practice in February. Yesterday was the first practice, for those keeping track. You rebel, you; flaunting your sassy britches around Durham. You KNEW spring didn't start in February, but did that stop you? Not for a second, you trailblazin' maverick of a man. Peyton & Eli doubtlessly approve.
  • the University of Texas held one of two Junior Days it sponsors on Saturday & wound up with 13 commitments for the 2011 signing class. So we have 350-some odd-days left until players can sign & Texas has already secured over half its class! Better hope Coach Mack Brown & staff can hang on. We've always known it's good to be the King!
  • Finally, in what comes as no surprise to anyone, Nick Saban is more popular than God in Alabama. Where's that put Finebaum in the pantheon of dieties? And all this time we thought they were the same person....

Morgan Bailey.....


come on down. You're the next contestant on "Meet the Georgia Tech Football Signees of 2010". A 6'4", 290 pound offensive lineman from Loganville, Bailey most likely projects as a tackle for the Jackets. While his high school teammate & Miami commit Storm Johnson got all the love from the recruiting "gurus", it was Bailey that paved the way & did the dirty work. Bailey chose Tech over the likes of Florida State, Ole Miss, Georgia, & Clemson. Welcome to the Flats, sir....



Hash's take: Very mobile. Has the frame to add 20-30 more pounds & still keep agility. Strong now (365 bench, 365 power clean, 500 squat) but will benefit from a redshirt year. Has a nasty disposition as a blocker. Long arms. Will develop into a multi-year starter for Tech.

Player he reminds us of: a more athletic Andrew Gardener.

The Hiring Process....

Ever wonder about how Paul Johnson hires new coaches? We've obtained exclusive footage of Johnson & new
defensive coordinator Al Groh discussing the hiring of
new inside linebackers coach Joe Speed.



So now you know...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gentlemen.....

In need of a bit of help this Valentine's Day? Not feeling up to the task of Lothario? Have your skills as a raconteur & man about town dwindled since settling down? Fear not, for we have just the cure. The Mayor procured this little clip on how to keep the ladies in your life happy. That my friends, is how you please a lady.....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We don't need.....


S-E-C speed cause we got our own. It's official. Joe Speed has joined the staff at Tech and will coach inside linebackers. As we mentioned in a previous post, Speed is familiar with our 3-4 system and will help in our transition to a new defense. Please note that as a former Marine, Speed carries no less than 17 lethal weapons on his person at all times & can simply stare at you until you blow up. Okay, we exaggerated the number of lethal weapons by a few. But happy days, we have Joe Speed, which everyone knows is infinitely superior to the vaunted SEC speed. Welcome to the Flats, sir.....

Speed will be key.....

in keeping Tech on top. To that end, FootballScoop is reporting that Navy defensive backs coach Joe Speed has accepted the inside linebackers job at Tech. A Naval Academy alum, Speed was a captain in the Marine Corps before returning to coach at his alma mater. Speed's bio is here. As Navy runs a 3-4 defense, Speed will be familiar with our new scheme & assist us in the transition. We'll let you know when it's official....

Felicitations......

(h/t old Tech friends of Hash's wife)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Five.....


Five things that caught our attention this morning other than the fact that "Snow-maggedon 2010" is on the way to the ATL. You'd think the fucking Black Plague had returned if you read the paper or watch the news. It's snow, & by definition it melts. You'll be fine. On to the good stuff:
  • former Tech defensive coordinator John Tenuta has been hired to replace Andy McCollum as linebackers coach at North Carolina State. Sweet irony, Tenuta is thy name! We'll be watching this with some curiosity; sort of like putting a cat into a dog's cage. There's a chance the two will make friends & all will end up rosy. But there's a bigger chance fur flies & someone gets injured. That essentially sums up our thoughts on the Tenuta-Tom O'Brien relationship. Oh blessed schadenfreude.....On a purely strategic note we're not the least bit worried. Tenuta's default setting is blitz, which you can't do to a team running the spread option. So he's got no ammo for his pea-shooter. Plus just look at how his Notre Dame defenses fared against Navy....
  • Robespierre the Slender pointed out to us that the NCAA is considering several rules changes this off-season. Since we are firm believers in the "act like you've been there & will be again" touchdown celebration policy (to which CPJ also subscribes), the new anti-taunting rule shouldn't really effect us (pounding fist onto wooden desk repeatedly....). The concussion rule is just common sense. There are two changes to which we are vehemently opposed: the "plain eye-black" rule & the seperation of teams before kick-off. As a fan, we rely heavily on eye black messages to tell us a little about the players. If you don't have your area code on your eye black, how the hell are we supposed to know where yo peeps at? Haters....And keeping teams separated before kick-off prevents things like this from happening:
Damn NCAA, trying to legislate mayhem out of the game......
  • ESPN has announced it's ACC TV schedule for 2010. Obviously more games will be added but these games are set in stone. The Thursday night tilt against the Hokies at Lane Stadium in November should garner great ratings & go along way toward determining the ACC champion. Labor Day will also be important with VPISU-Boise State & Maryland vs. Navy.
  • Our blue-blooded "friends" up in Virginia seem to have their smoking jackets & deck shoes in an uproar over Al Groh's contract. We love how the article calls it "a measure of curiosity". You're paying for our defensive coordinator, getting economically prison-raped & it's your own fault, but it's just a "measure of curiosity". Ahhh, the stiff upper lip. Carry on, good fellows, & enjoy the ass-whipping you get at the hands of Tech this season.
  • Andy McCollum is excited to be at Tech and we're excited George O'Leary is not at Tech. Some things never change.....
A special Valentine's Day gift later.....

A Brief Interlude....


from Tech football & football in general. Frank & I were talking just the other day how if we thought there was something worth posting non-football related we should go ahead & do so. I have just such a thing. Since we are a Tech blog I'll go with an equation:

Dave Grohl(Nirvana/Foo Fighters) + Josh Homme(Queens of the Stone Age/Eagles of Death Metal) + John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) = Them Crooked Vultures = one AMAZING live show.

The Mayor & I trekked down to the Tabernacle last night & caught the show & were frankly just blown away. It's rock-n-roll people, the way it was meant to be: loud (my ears are still ringing this morning), unadorned, & raw. No fancy light show or stage tricks, no power ballads or political messages, just hard-driving, in-your-face rock music. John Paul Jones is, well, John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl pounds his drumset into submission & Josh Homme is the Ginger Elvis (NOT to be confused with the Ginger Ninja). If you want a great live show, check them out as they continue their North American tour. And the album is not bad, either. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thurday's Links.....

Some links we found interesting (Maisel) and amusing (Dinich & Towers). Here we go:
  • ESPN's Ivan Maisel takes an interesting look at coaches who use loopholes to sign huge recruiting classes in this article. We have no use for this bullshit. Why sign a kid if you know he can't get into school or can't do the work once he is there? It's at best disingenuous & at worst criminal. Pulling a bait & switch on an 18 year-old? Nice, very ethical. We won't even get into guys like Saban running players off if they can't contribute by their redshirt sophomore year. Sleazy stuff. We're simply glad we don't have to deal with this type of thing. We're happy to stand on our moral high-ground & throw stones at all the dirtbags out there....
  • Chip Towers of the AJC obviously doesn't read The Barrel. If the did he wouldn't post drivel like this. We warned him just yesterday about rankings like this in our WABAC Machine post. Thanks so much for the B+, Chip; especially since it doesn't mean shit....
  • And speaking of rankings, everyone's favorite ACC blogger, ESPN's Heather Dinich, decided she would do a "pre-spring power ranking" of the ACC. What the fuck does that mean & is it at all relevant? Going into spring practice these are the ACC's best teams? Who gives a shit? Heather, you know the best thing about every school's spring game? They are guaranteed a win. The whole thing struck us as pointless but we do have one small issue: you really think Boston College is ahead of us? Really? They have a fucking Corpse playing quarterback!!!!!! Shinskie moves & throws like a Zombie; and for the record Zombies are more mobile. We have returning All-ACC QB Josh Nesbitt at the helm of our potent offense. They have Corpe-like Dave Shinskie leading their craptastic mess. Advantage: clearly Boston College. What was I thinking????

Tony Zenon.....


Come on down, you're the next contestant on "Meet the 2010 Georgia Tech Signees". Of course he had to come to Tech; the man is named after a Noble gas. If only he could wear #54.....Back to reality: the Zenon story is a great one. He & his family are Katrina refugees who settled in Albany, the first place they could get a reservation. Zenon attended Deerfield-Windsor Academy, a small private school, where he lit up GISA competition, running for 5,684 yards & 65 touchdowns. A stout 5'8" & 175 pounds, Zenon ran a 4.4 at our summer camp & was the offensive star of the afternoon. He'll play A-back at Tech.



Hash's take: thicker than people give him credit for. Very fast (4.4) but also elusive; changes direction very well. Had a great camp against other elite players this summer at Tech. Hard to bring down & stronger than people think. A good fit for our offense as we can use him situationally. Concerns about his size are overblown.

Player he reminds us of: West Virginia's Noel Devine in stature & style. Closer to home, think Charlie Rogers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The WABAC Machine.....


For those of you old or cultured enough to fondly recall the Rocky & Bullwinkle show, you will doubtlessly recall Mr. Peabody & Sherman, his trusty companion, & their contraption the WABAC Machine. This machine allowed the duo to travel back in time, witnessing historic events as they unfolded right before their very eyes. The twist? The events never went according to history, something always going awry & forcing Peabody & Sherman to intercede in order to keep history on its correct course. This is essentially college football recruiting in a nutshell; great predictions & high hopes, some of which come to fruition, others that simply fall flat of their mark.
It's a fallacious & frankly idiotic process to rank recruiting classes as they are signed. The recruiting services may try as they like but there's no way to predict the future of an 18 year old (although my objective standard of the facial/neck tattoo stands: if you've got ink on your face or neck you have, or will be, incarcerated at one point in your life. Mark it down. Never been wrong...). Look at our neighbors at the Cesspool. Every year U(sic)GA is ranked in the top ten in recruiting classes. What have they won for that? Jack shit. Nada. Nothing. You get nothing for Rivals or Scout declaring that you have the "best recruiting class" in the nation. We won't say it means nothing; there are ancillary benefits (publicity, hype) that come with highly ranked recruiting classes, but college football is about winning games on the field.
So instead of ranking classes as they come in, why not rank them as they leave school? You mean actually looking at how the classes fared on the field? A novel approach & one we'll try here with the Tech class of 2005. How did this class fare & how did they stack up against the recruiting rankings?
Just to be clear, we're using the Rivals database on recruits. It's not the greatest standard but it is a standard which is constant & we can access. So what about the class of 2005? Well, first & foremost many of them can lay claim to the 2009 ACC Championship & a berth in the Orange Bowl, Tech's first ever BCS bowl. Well done, gentlemen. Overall, they had a five year record (have to account for the redshirt year) of 43-23 (.65 winning %), playing for two conference championships (2006, 2009) & as we said earlier, winning one. They were a disappointing 1-4 versus U(sic)GA & lost all five of the bowl games they played in. Overall, their accomplishments were certainly above average.
According to Rivals, in 2005 we signed 19 players: 7 three star (***) players & 12 two-star (**) athletes. Let's take a look & them individually & see how they ended up:
  • Anthony Barnes (***): did not enroll until 2006 & the only one of this class with eligibility left. May benefit from our switch to a 3-4. Has seen some but not much time on defense while at Tech but has been a special teams contributor.
  • Jake Blackwood (**): Son of former Dolphin great Glen. Rarely played except on special teams.
  • Matt Braman (**): Linebacker from Colorado was never really a factor at Tech.
  • Tony Clark (***): played DB until his senior year in 2008 when he moved to Wolf. A steady if limited contributor over his career. 2008 was certainly his best year.
  • Randall Cox (**): offensive lineman that we can't seem to remember. We think he transferred to Florida State. Any help would be great????
  • Trey Dunmon (**): offensive lineman transferred to Georgia Southern with the arrival of CPJ. Had some not so nice things to say on Facebook after our Orange Bowl loss this year.
  • Martin Frierson (**): contributor on special teams while at Tech.
  • Jonathan Garner (***): QB was probably this classes most highly sought after player. Transferred to Marshall after his redshirt freshman year.
  • Jason Hill (**): just graduated this winter. A backup at OL & DL during his time at Tech.
  • Cordero Howard(**): one of the gems of this class. Two-time all-ACC performer at guard. We've since recruited 2 other players to Tech from his high school. Under appreciated during his time on the Flats.
  • Michael Johnson (***): from three star tight end to All-American defensive end. #93 was a beast in all facets of the game, including special teams. His two sacks late in the game against Maryland to preserve the win & the pick 6 against Miami on Thursday night are great memories.
  • Will Miller(**): offensive lineman didn't play after 2006 due to a knee injury.
  • Colin Peek(***): tight end who transferred to Alabama upon CPJ's arrival. Has a nice big ring from 2009. Why some Tech fans hold a grudge we can't understand: he's a tight end & we don't use a tight end. What was he supposed to do?
  • Brad Sellers (**): entered as a defensive end & ended up as a starting offensive tackle. Starter on this season's ACC championship team.
  • Greg Smith(***): WR contributed early but role decreased upon CPJ's arrival. Transferred to Jacksonville State after the 2008 season.
  • Taalib Tucker (**): played sparingly as a true freshman. Left the team after spring practice 2007.
  • Dan Voss (**): started at center in 2008 & then capably backed up in 2009. Never complained & was the consummate team player after losing training camp battle to Sean Bedford. We'll always hold him in high regard for that....and his completely pimptastic mustache groom on the Jumbotron during player introductions. That sir, was high cotton....
  • Vance Walker(**): as under-rated a player as we can remember at Tech. Twice All-ACC, he made every player around him better. Used leverage & played as hard & smart as any DT we can remember. Hopefully as time passes he will be remembered as a great player on the Flats...
  • Jahi Word-Daniels (***): a solid cover corner whose injury in 2008 really hurt us down the stretch. Steady if unspectacular starter. Certainly one of the better players of this class.
Well, that's all 19. It's admittedly hard to judge this class based on attrition due to the coaching change; 7 of the 19 original signees either transferred or quit playing football while they had eligibility remaining. Of the other twelve, six started at one time in their career for an extended period (Howard, Johnson, Voss, Word-Daniels, Walker, & Sellers) & three were TWICE named ALL-ACC (Howard, Johnson, & Walker). Three are currently on NFL rosters (Johnson, Walker, & Word-Daniels) while two others (Howard & Peek) have a shot at playing in the League.
What's it all really mean? Well, it means that we won an ACC Championship with no four star players for one thing. And of our three all-conference players in the class one had three stars while the other two were meager two star guys. I guess what we're trying to say is relax about the recruiting rankings, they really don't matter too much. We're not saying talent isn't important; it is tremendously so. We love coach Groh's mantra: "coach's with schemes & no talent are coaches of unimportant teams". Very true. Talent is a key, one of many, to winning. What we're trying to get at is that our staff knows the talent that they want & are better able evaluate talent than the rest of us. That's why we buy tickets & they stand on the sideline. And one last illustration:

This baby faced 18 year-old....

Became this quarterback terrorizing 22 year-old MAN....

That about sums it up.....

-Hash

Ryan Ayers.....


Come on Down.....you're the next contestant on "Meet the 2010 Georgia Tech Signing Class". A 5'10, 175 pound safety out of South Paulding High, Ayers was one of the Jackets most sought after signees. A safety in high school, Ayers will make the transition to corner on the Flats & will likely redshirt this season. Ayers maybe the fastest player the Jackets signed this year, having been clocked at 4.43 in the 40.



Hash's take: blazing speed & good quickness. Finds the ball & gets great break on it. Will need to refine technique; relies on pure athletic ability now. Back pedals well but needs to be more fluid in & out of breaks; hips can be stiff at times. Needs to add some bulk to a wiry frame. Shows a willingness to play run support & make tackles. A great fit for our new 3-4 defense.

Player he reminds us of: "Big Play" Willie Clay. Ayers breaks on the ball like Willie used to.